Region | Iraq

Crackdown in Diyala worries Kurdish leaders

The mayor of the oil rich town of Khanaqin, has criticised the entry of Iraqi forces into his town. Khanaqin is part of the Diyala governorate which has been under a government crackdown on Al Qaida.

  • By Basil Adas, Correspondent
  • Published: 23:43 August 26, 2008
  • Gulf News

Baghdad: The mayor of the oil rich town of Khanaqin, has criticised the entry of Iraqi forces into his town. Khanaqin is part of the Diyala governorate which has been under a government crackdown on Al Qaida.

"Baghdad should exclude Khanaqin from military operations because there is no Al Qaida in our city," Mohammad Mullah told Gulf News.

The city of Khanaqin includes five districts; two under the central government authority and the other three, Qarato, Miran and Bamo are contested areas between the Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds.

Khanaqin sits on the border with Iran and is the second largest oil city after Kirkuk in the Northern region of Iraq. There are Kurdish projects to explore oil in Khanaqin and to oversee Al Wand, an oil refinery in Khanaqin.

"Oil is once again behind the conflict between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Khanaqin," Abdul Razzaq Al Raqi, a political analyst told Gulf News.

"The current problem in Khanaqin is that Kurdish political leaders believe Al Maliki wants to extend his authority to all regions of Kurdistan as he did in Basra, Maysan, Al Sadr city, and Mosul," Burhan Al Haideri, a member of al Maliki's Al Dawa party told Gulf News.

He added that Kurds are particularly concerned because the move strengthens the central government and the expense of regional governments.

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